Japanese University Holds Virtual Graduation with Robots

Credit: BBT

Even from a distance, the graduating class still got their due honors.

Students at Business Breakthrough University in Tokyo didn’t get a traditional ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn’t stop the institution from giving them the graduation they deserved.

On March 28, students virtually graduated using “Newme” mobile robots with a tablet in place of the face. The students logged in on a Zoom call and “walked” across the stage to accept their diplomas at the Hotel Grand Palace in Tokyo. All the robots were dressed in ceremonial robes and grad caps. The ceremony was only partially virtual, with four students and a few administrators in actual attendance physically.

The Newme robot was created by ANA Group and is designed to work as a remotely controlled customizable avatar. The few students that did attend the ceremony at the physical location controlled the avatars for those who could not graduate in person. Management students from all over Japan and the world tuned in to the ceremony.

This is just one of the many creative ways the Japanese are recreating cancelled events. Not too long ago, some Japanese elementary school students held a virtual graduation ceremony in Minecraft.

Credit: BBT

As virtual gatherings are becoming more common, universities and schools around the world have been implementing Zoom calls, or in this case, robots, to make canceled events and activities more physical.

Dean of Global Business Administration Professor Shugo Yanaka, the mastermind behind this creative graduation ceremony, hopes that other institutions will be inspired by BBT in light of the current situation.

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